Sunday, 6 May 2012

Retreating to Exmoor

After a frantic few weeks, The Curate was beginning to show signs of wear and tear! To be fair he was not well and very tired so it was time for me to take action and to find somewhere for some R and R away from the maddening crowd. As The Curate becomes more recognised in the parish, the harder it becomes to stay put and take his day off - especially if he is going to walk the dogs. I lost him last Friday when I went to take the Lakeland home and he walked on with the Collie to collect the newspaper. At the speed the Lakeland walks these days - we should have arrived home at the same time. After half an hour of being home alone, I decided I had better go and find him. He had been in conversation with three different people and, without his Rottweiler wife beside him, he found it difficult to end the conversations to get home to his breakfast. Time to escape! 
So we have just returned from three days in a sweet little Exmoor cottage - with no internet, no phone signal, no central heating ( just being installed), no microwave and no neighbours! The UK was  just recovering from the wettest April in a hundred years and Liscombe on Exmoor had seen the most rainfall of all with 273.8 mm of rain compared with its 86.4 mm average. So I rented us a cottage five miles from this wet spot!! ( As if we don't have enough rain where we live!)  Our adventures started with The Curate's navigation as he decided we should travel the straightest route from our house on Dartmoor to our cottage on Exmoor. On a map this seems possible but in reality it involved lots of small roads with grass growing up the centre and no passing places if you should meet the returning rural school buses (as we did). Eventually we did reach our destination - a little later than we expected.
We had been warned that the ford on one of the roads to the cottage was flowing too fast to cross but fortunately we could take the other road in. Once we had unloaded the car, lit the log burner and put supper in the oven, we took the dogs to look at the river. The ancient foot bridge was still passable but not the road. On returning to the cottage we realised that we had locked ourselves out!! With windows that were sealed shut with paint and a new yale lock on the solid wooden door - there was no way in. The car keys and contact numbers were inside the cottage - and through the tiny kitchen window we could see our supper slowly blackening! Thank goodness for mobile phones and the sensible Curate keeping his in his pocket (unlike me). By walking up out of the valley, he was able to contact the owner who said he would be half an hour - too late for our supper! (We felt like a right pair of plonkers!) But we had plenty of other tasty bits and pieces and it was very easy to settle down to a cosy evening by the log burner. Although we were reminded of the benefits of modem day central heating (- there being none here) whenever we went to use the bathroom. We were very grateful for the thick quilts on the bed and dressed in front of the logburner.
The  walking was great but the evidence of the heavy rain was everywhere. The paths were running with water and resembled streams in places rather than paths. As the area was forested, trees had been blown over and washed down the river or washed up against the bridges causing some of the more fragile structures to wash away. 
Some collies wont be told!

The Curate and I loved living in an old cottage again and the dogs liked having an open fire again. The Curate is looking fitter and I feel refreshed enough to carry on with the last leg of the Curate's curacy.


  1. Quite a trip, Harriet! What a good idea to get away for a few days, though I'm sad to see the damage the dreadful weather has wreaked.

  2. Your break away sounded idyllic, apart from locking yourselves out. Lovely to have time out from daily life.

  3. I'm glad you all got away for some needed R&R. It looks so beautiful and secluded. And WET ... I had no idea you were having such a wet spring in Britain.